looking for a few good ideas

  amongst the irregular verbiage

Catching up with people

I slept for much of the day. Yesterday's events were apparently more exhausting than first appeared - either that, or Jet Lag, but for only 5 hours difference?

Lisa's cousin-in-law Richard and his wife Tamara turned up mid-morning for breakfast and a chat. Rich and Tamara live in Berkeley, and in fact we have stayed with them for a night or two during my first visit to California, three years ago. They are really nice people, and have been to NZ for a couple of visits over the last few years. They had come to Santa Rosa for the Bar Mitzva, and also to look for a good place to have a wedding - I think one of their daughters is getting married soon. We made plans to see them later on during our stay, next time we passed through Berkeley on this trip.

Later that day we picked up Josh and Merlin, and drove out to visit Danny M. Danny is one of Josh's most influential teachers during his 2nd grade year, and remained a good friend of Lisa. He is good with bright and creative students, and gets "into trouble" occasionally, due to his alternative teaching style. But it helped Josh a lot, apparently.

Danny & Ellen live with their family out in the wilderness, (somewhere more or less on the road to Sonoma) in a house and place very reminiscent of Matt and Alison's previous house in the Waitakeres. It is surrounded by trees, and is all made from wood with big beams and nooks and crannies and towers and mezzanine floors and bunk beds and stuff like that. One tree actually grows inside the house and up through the roof at one point, with a rope swing hanging from it in the main living room.

When we got there, the house was deserted. We knew that they may not be there, because Danny had given us a general invitation to come and relax and use the hot tub and stuff, even if they weren't there. He assured Lisa that they would turn up late afternoon, eventually.

We sat in the sun and Derek and I sat in the hot tub for a while, until it got too cold outside. Then we decided to go somewhere local for a bite to eat (we didn't feel like hanging around and sort of forcing Danny to invite us to dinner out of situational necessity).

We drove further along highway 12 until we came to a little town called Kenwood. Blink and you'd miss it.  We had dinner at "Dana's Italian Restaurant" which was pretty dreadful, but we were so hungry that it sort of didn't matter.

Then we drove back to Danny's house and met up with them, and spent some time chatting and saying hello, before piling back in the car and driving back to Santa Rosa.

On the way back, we decided that we were in the mood for watching a video. In particular, Josh and Derek recommended _Clerks_, which Lisa and I had never seen.  At this point, we split up. Merlin and Derek went to pick up sleeping stuff or something, and Josh, Lisa, and I went to get some ice-cream, jellybeans, and browse the Eastmans Videos - which had been bought or sold or something and is now known as Hollywood Videos, but is still the best place - and found 3 MST3K (Mystery Science Theater 3000) videos that were available to be rented (so they _do_ exist!!!) and decided to rent two videos - _Strange Days_ & _Johnny Mnemonic_ - because _Clerks_ was unavailable.

We watched _Strange Days_ because it was a one-day rental.  It was very good. We intend to watch it again when it makes it to NZ, because all our friends will like it also.

The jellybeans were also good. Gourmet flavours, no less.